Crosby, Toews, Doan take swipes at Bettman

Sidney Crosby listens as the NHLPA's Donald Fehr addresses the media following NHL lockout meetings...

Sidney Crosby listens as the NHLPA's Donald Fehr addresses the media following NHL lockout meetings in Toronto Thursday. (CRAIG ROBERTSON, QMI Agency)

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:01 PM ET

Captains Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews once received the Stanley Cup from a grinning Gary Bettman, while Shane Doan technically works for him as a member of the league-owned Phoenix Coyotes.

But all three took swipes at Bettman, or at least his bargaining tactics, during their turn at the microphone following Thursday’s breakdown of talks with the commissioner and their union boss Donald Fehr. Doan, a veteran of three lockouts since 1994-95, believed the league was asking far too much from a group that gave back 24% in salary in the last dispute.

“We did come to 50-50 as they proposed,” said Doan. “When people ask for money, they usually say ‘give me your money or I’m going to hurt you. They don’t say ‘give me your money and I’m going to hurt you.’

“That’s kind of the point we joke about, but that’s where we’re at. Having experienced (the lost 2004-05 season) no one wants to go through that again. We recognize that the NHL has a purpose of running the league a way they deem fit, so you hope you can come here and find a way to make it work. Us willing to come all the way down to a 50-50 split is something big on our part. Unfortunately, it didn’t work.”

Crosby, the face of the league, who has been trying to get back on the ice and play a full season, flat out said the league was not being genuine in its dealings.

“We’re negotiating in good faith with a purpose and I don’t know if there’s much purpose from their side right now,” the Penguins’ star said. “Our offers have been consistent and I don’t know if theirs' have been. I don’t know if their willingness to negotiate has really shown through. They’ve been hard-line offers, take-it-or-leave-it.

“The timing of this (week’s) is pretty ironic, thinking that the only way of getting 82 games in is figuring something out in the next week. I think that’s by design. You come with three proposals (Thursday) and it’s shut down in 10 minutes, not even a day to think about them. That doesn’t seem like a group willing to negotiate.”

“It doens’t look good right now.”

Crosby said he would now look “harder” at the possibility of playing in Europe.

“That’s something everyone has to figure out,” he said. “Where do things stand? We’re not in a great spot, but you also can’t make a decision a couple of hours after something like this. There is still time, but it wasn’t very optimistic today.”

Toews joined Crosby in lamenting the league’s latest offer coming with so little time to spare for a full season.

“You see the league being so hush-hush for the longest time and then come out being very clear with (their offer being broadcast) to the media, trying to turn the tables on us,” Toews said. “You have to wonder why that is. We were ready to play in early October.”

lance.hornby@sunmedia.ca

 


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